FIRST-RATE “THIRD DRIVER”
Charlie Kimball joins the ranks of 2013’s first-time IndyCar Series race winners
Kimball has always shown humility in
learning from his champion teammates.
But at Mid-Ohio, it was Charlie’s turn
in the spotlight – and deservedly so.
IndyCar’s season of surprises continued
in August at Mid-Ohio, as Chip Ganassi
Racing’s “other driver” Charlie Kimball
not only beat his illustrious teammates
Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti, but
outraced the whole field to notch up his
first series win. Kimball’s victory also
extended the fallow period for former title
rivals Franchitti and Team Penske’s Will
Power, both winless since Spring 2012.
Kimball, who had qualified on the third
row, was switched to a three-stop strategy
early in the race while trailing the lead
group comprising Ryan Hunter-Reay, Power,
Dixon and Franchitti. That quartet cruised
two-three seconds off the pace, attempting
to make a two-stop strategy work, despite
the race being extended by five laps this
year to discourage such tactics.
Only when Kimball’s flat-out driving in
each stint was projected to be the more
effective method in a race that turned out
to be caution-free for a second straight
year, were his teammates switched to
three-stoppers. Franchitti salvaged third,
but Dixon changed tactics too late and
trailed home seventh, behind chief title
rival Helio Castroneves, as well as
Hunter-Reay and Power.
Kimball’s win was not down to tactics
alone. In the final stint, he had to pull off an
incisive pass on another three-stopper,
Schmidt Hamilton Racing’s Simon Pagenaud.
It also marked the fourth straight win for
Ganassi and Honda following Dixon’s
triumphs in Pocono and both Toronto races.
He famously races
with insulin, but in
Kimball has also
raced with increasing
improvement in his
campaign in 2011,
then plateaued in
’ 12. However, CK
has produced strong
results this year,
including fourth at
Barber and second
at Pocono. And with
Ganassi having made
progress in a mid-year
test at Sebring,
Mid-Ohio may not
be Kimball’s last trip
to Victory Lane….
Kimball was the fourth driver to notch up a first IndyCar victory in 2013, joining...
JOIN THE CLUB
Hinch pounced when
bobbled under braking,
then held his line and his
nerve. The Canuck has
since followed up with
wins in Brazil and Iowa.
With great pace on
primary “black” tires
and just the right
amount of aggression,
Taku earned AJ Foyt
Racing its first victory
in 13 years.
Sam Schmidt’s super-sophomore had a slow
first race in Motown’s
double-header, but the
team transformed his
car overnight and SP
supplied the rest.
In 2013, IndyCar is edging close to CART’s record
for number of winners in a season. With no wins
for big guns Power, Franchitti or Andretti as we
went to press, could it hit the magic dozen?
THE VARIETY SHOW
9... and counting